I hope the Russians don’t decide to throw something at Bush before he leaves
A group of Russian warships will from December 19-23 visit the Communist island of Cuba, a long-time adversary of the United States and Moscow’s ally in the Cold War, the Russian navy said on Monday.
“This will be the first visit to Cuba by Russian warships since the Soviet era,” the Russian naval headquarters said in a statement.
The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two other ships will visit Havana in what the navy described as a “significant practical step towards strengthening and developing ties between the two states’ navies.”
Russian ships have been touring countries close to US waters in what is seen as a riposte to Washington’s own moves in Russia’s Soviet-era sphere of influence, including US naval deployments in the Black Sea.
Last month President Dmitry Medvedev visited Cuba on a four-country Latin American tour intended to revive what he called “privileged relations” that existed between Moscow and several Latin American states in the Cold War.
The Russian moves in Central and Latin America follow heightened tensions over this summer’s Russian military onslaught in Georgia, a close US ally in the Caucasus.
The navy also announced the completion of a visit to Nicaragua, during which it delivered aid to the Central American country led by leftist President Daniel Ortega.
Ortega is due to visit Moscow this week.
“The Russian naval command believes visits by Russian ships to Venezuela, Panama and Nicaragua signify long-term prospects for developing cooperation among these countries’ naval forces in the interest of developing stability and trust on the world’s oceans,” the navy said.
During the Cuba visit, residents will be welcomed aboard the Russian ships and Russian officers will lay flowers at a memorial to Cuban campaigner for independence and critic of US expansionism Jose Marti, the navy said.